How Long to Smoke a Pork Butt at 225°F for Juiciness?

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The smoke time for pork is determined by several different factors.

In order to tell how long you need to smoke a standard 8lb pork butt at 225°F you need to take into account the ambient temperature, humidity and thickness of the meat.

Due to this, it’s best to check the internal temperature of your meat to see if it’s done.

If you want a juicy, fall-off-the-bone pork you should smoke it to an internal temperature of 203 to 205°F.

Nevertheless, there are a few guidelines that can give you a rough estimate for the smoking time of pork butt.

How long to smoke a pork butt at 225°F?

The pork butt or boston butt is a cut of meat that comes from the upper shoulder of a hog.

Since this area receives little exercise, the pork butt is usually high in fats and connective tissues.

As a result, it needs to be cooked for long periods of time so the connective tissues can break down.

This is why this tough piece of meat is usually smoked on a barbecue grill.

There are different temperatures you can smoke pork butt at, but most people choose to smoke theirs at 225°F.

A pork butt that’s smoked at 225°F requires 2 hours of smoke time per pound of meat.

This means you’ll need 16 hours to smoke a standard 8lb pork butt to an internal temperature of 205°F.

Having said that, you might need slightly less or even more time depending on the thickness of your meat.

I’ve had 8lb pork butts finish smoking in 12 hours while some 10 pounders proved more stubborn and took me 20 hours.

If you want to speed up the process, I recommend buying thinner cuts of pork butt since they have a larger surface area and typically smoke faster.

The type of smoker you’re using can also impact the smoking time of your meat.

If your smoker is made of thin material or isn’t insulated properly you’ll lose a lot of heat when the weather is cold.

Due to this, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your smoker if you want to finish your pork butt on time.

Since the smoke times for pork butt can vary drastically, I’ve made a chart to simplify things for you:

a chart showing the smoking times for different weights of pork butt at 225°F

With that said, I’ve found that you can smoke pork at 275°F without any noticeable difference in flavor. This trims down the smoke time to only 6 hours and the pork still comes out nice and juicy.

If you’re feeling timid, you can also start smoking at 225°F and increase the temperature once you hit the stall. Even though it’s not as fast, this method will still shave off a few hours of smoke time.

Always bring pork to the room temperature before smoking: How to Defrost Pork Shoulder?

Pro tips for smoking pork butt?

Pork butt is a very forgiving piece of meat. As long as you’re keeping a good eye on your smoker, there’s not much you can mess up.

Nevertheless, there are a few simple tips that can take the taste of your pulled pork to the next level.

Use a simple dry rub

I’ve found that using a simple dry rub is usually enough to give pork butt a good amount of flavor.

In my opinion, using injections, brines or marinades is simply unnecessary.

These methods are mostly used to make the meat more tender and a well cooked pork butt is already tender enough.

In addition, brines, injections and marinades usually increase smoke time.

This is why I stick to a simple dry rub for my pulled pork.

I’ve experimented with different ingredients over the years until I discovered the blend that works best for my dry rub.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 3 oz Diamond Crystal Salt
  • 3 oz Black Pepper
  • 1 oz Ground Mustard
  • 1.5 oz Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 oz Smoked Paprika
  • 2 oz Garlic Powder
  • 2 oz Onion Powder

If you want to increase the amount of heat, you can add a mix of dried ancho and chipotle peppers.

For a better bark, you can add 6 tablespoons of brown or turbinado sugar.

Don’t trim the fat

Even though it may seem like a personal preference, there are several reasons why it’s better to not trim the fat cap.

On one hand, the extra fat will insulate the meat and keep it moist during smoking.

This will help it keep its flavors and prevent it from drying out.

And on the other hand, you can use the extra juices to make a finishing sauce for your pulled pork.

This can be extremely handy if you’re serving the pork on the next day or you have any leftovers.

Having said that, it’s good to score the cap with a knife so the fat renders better.

This will also help you create a better bark.

In case you don’t like its fatty taste, you can remove the fat cap once your pork butt is done.

You can also trim it beforehand and place it on a grate on top of the pork butt so it can keep the meat moist.

Choose the right type of wood

Choosing the right type of wood is essential in making great pulled pork.

You can use several different types of wood depending on the taste you’re looking for.

In my experience, cherry adds a nice fruity flavor to smoked pork without being too overwhelming.

Hickory can also work nicely, but some people find its flavor too strong.

This is why I use it sparingly and mix it with cherry and apple.

Even though it may be hard to find, pecan is probably one of the best types of wood for smoking.

It has a sweet, nutty flavor and can produce a thin blue smoke when it’s managed properly.

Finally, the best wood for smoking any meat remains oak.

Post oak is always a solid choice when you’re in doubt.

Keep the meat moist

Smoking is a long process that can make your meat dry if you’re not careful.

Due to this, it’s a good idea to keep your pork butt moist by spritzing it with a spray bottle.

You can spray your with some apple cider vinegar or apple juice to give it some flavor.

However, you shouldn’t expect any dramatic changes in flavor since most of its taste will come from your spices.

I don’t recommend using any mops or basting brushes because they can wash off your dry rub.

You also shouldn’t spray the top of your meat for the same reason.

I usually start spraying when the internal temperature of my meat reaches 150°F.

I do this at half hour intervals until I hit the stall and I’m ready to wrap.

There’s no need to worry about opening your smoker that often since it won’t slow down the smoking process.

Another thing you can do to keep your meat moist is to use a water pan in your smoker.

This will slow down evaporation and keep the meat’s surface wet.

Don’t rely on smoking time alone

When you gain some smoking experience, you’ll notice that pork butts seem to have a mind of their own.

No matter what you do, some pieces of pork butt are simply too stubborn and require more time to cook.

Due to this, it’s not a good idea to rely on smoking time alone.

Smoke times should only be used as an estimate to help you plan ahead.

The best way to tell if your pork has finished cooking is to measure its internal temperature with a thermometer.

The temperature you should aim for with pulled pork is 205°F.

If you don’t have a digital thermometer at hand you can check if it’s done by wiggling its bone with your fingers.

If it turns easily and you can pull it out, then it’s fully cooked.

In case you’re smoking a boneless pork butt, you can twist some of the meat with a fork.

When the meat’s done, there shouldn’t be any resistance.

Wrap the meat in aluminum foil

Wrapping the meat in aluminum foil will help you get past the stall more quickly.

In addition, it will also keep the juices inside the meat and make it more succulent.

The best time to wrap is when the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

At this point, the temperature usually begins to slow down and needs a little boost.

You can also wrap the meat in parchment paper instead of aluminum foil.

This will give the bark a slightly better texture.

Another benefit of wrapping the meat in aluminum foil is that you can easily transfer it in a cooler when it’s time to rest.

Let the meat rest

One of the most important parts in making great smoked pork is rest time.

When you let the meat rest, all of its juices stay inside and make it more succulent.

You’ll need to plan at least an hour of rest time at room temperature.

If you have more time, you can set your oven to 150°F and keep the meat there for a few hours.

However, the easiest way to keep your pork butt warm and let it rest is to throw it in a cooler.

Before you do so, you should wrap it in aluminum foil if you haven’t already.

Once in, you should cover the meat in as many towels as you can.

This will keep the meat insulated and prevent it from getting too cold.

My quick takeaway

In order to get a nice juicy pork butt, you need to smoke it for a long period of time.

At 225°F you’ll generally need to plan 2 hours of smoking time per pound of meat.

However, unlike smoking ribs, pork butt is a pretty forgiving cut of meat, so you can bump up the temperature to 275°F.

This way you’ll be able to enjoy it in roughly 6 hours.

Here’s something to read next if you’re into smoking tasty stuff: The Perfect Internal Temperature of Smoked Salmon

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